Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

by Lisa See | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780812968064 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingbooklady331wing of Cape Coral, Florida USA on 4/27/2009
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingbooklady331wing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Monday, April 27, 2009
Thank you, cbostler, for the replacement book.

Link to old ring:

Wow, what a read. My suggestion is to read "A Note About the Writing of Snow Fower and the Secret Fan" first. I am glad I did. I read it before and after.

I love learning about China = footbinding, nu shu, life of the women, marriage, Chinese family life, and much more. This book was aobut the women in the 19th Century and their toubles, friendships, life.
The author made a good observation - that it is easy to look back at cultures, times, and traditions and make judgments when we are far removed from the era in which the events occured. Lisa See said that she wanted to "see, taste, touch, smell, and here everything." She helps the reader to experience this, too.

Lisa See wrote something that made me think and that I agree with, if fact, it is something I thought of just not in relation to footbinding. She writes, " Many preconceptions and misconceptions surround footbinding. It's easy to equate it with the horific practice of female genital mutilation in Africa, the tradition of shrouding women in burkas in the Middle East, or even the strange, perculiar, often extreme cosmetic surgery treatments that so many American women seek. . . How does a culture decide what's beautiful? How does our worth as women change according to that sense of beauty?..." I often think, "When are we women going to stand up and say enough is enough. We love ourselves for who we are, not what men or other women think we should be?"
I am going to look for more by this author.

If you are new to BookCrossing and found this book and this site, Welcome!

You have in your hands a free gift. This book is yours to do with as you it, share it, keep it, pass it on!
I've registered this at so that I can keep up on where it goes, who reads it, and what they thought of it. If you like the BookCrossing concept, you might want to register yourself with a screen name, so that you can keep up on this book, and maybe release others also! It’s all confidential (you’re known only by your screen name and no one is ever given your e-mail address), fascinating, and fun!

Thank you for picking up this book. I'd love to see an entry letting me know it is safe with you. Do with it as you please... read it (or not!), give it to a friend, keep it, leave it in the wild - it's up to you! Enjoy! If you like you can mention me, booklady331, as the one who referred you.

Journal Entry 2 by cbostler from Sandy, Utah USA on Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In August of 2008, I read another copy of this book that Booklady331 had registered. Here is the journal entry I wrote at that time:

This has been a case of having the right book at the right time. My experience with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan has been richly rewarding.

I read this novel with using techniques that would make my college English literature professor applaud in approval. (Thirty-eight years too late to earn that A+, however.)

I read slowly and carefully, visualizing each character and event. The author's marvelous style of writing facilitated that. I made sure I understood every word Lisa See used, and have added filial, kowtowed,
vituperation, laotong, and nu shu to my vocabulary. I made note of powerful passages and quotes, too. My favorite is spoken by Lily, "Obey, obey, obey.
Then do what you want to do."

Most of the ideas presented in the book were completely foreign to me. I spent a good deal of time on the internet learning more about the Chinese social structure in the 1800's. (I agree with Purple4. I'm glad I'm who I am, living when and where I do now!) The practice of foot binding is new and startling to me, and I found several interesting articles and photos about it online. The author has good links from her personal website, too. I also had an enlightening discussion with my son-in-law. His maternal grandfather is Chinese, and grandpa had a traditional Chinese upbringing.
I used the discussion questions found at the end of the book to guide my reading. I enjoyed mulling over the thought-provoking material there, and know that this compelling novel will be on my mind for a long time.

On Lisa See's website, she has a link for the recipe for the sugared taro dessert she mentions several times in her book. That's our family project for tomorrow. We are going to try an ancient Chinese treat.

Thanks for the opportunity to read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Booklady331. It has been a pleasure!

ADDED TWO DAYS LATER: The results of the Taro Treat Taste Test are in.
Not surprisingly, 9 out of 9 of our testers preferred raspberry cheesecake to Snow Flower's ancient Chinese dessert.

Journal Entry 3 by cbostler from Sandy, Utah USA on Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I loved my reading experience with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan nine months ago. I read this copy recently, and found it just as fascinating as I did the first time. A local literacy group read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and met last week to discuss it. I'm not a member of the group, but joined them as "as fly on the wall" for their discussion. I liked hearing the varied opinions and feelings about characters and events, and found new ways of looking at parts of the story. I was pleased when the group gave the book their endorsement.

This copy has now been registered by Booklady331. It's in her possession at this time.

Journal Entry 4 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Can't believe that I never made a journal entry for this book. I am sorry. I am ready to send the book on its way when I noticed I never "received" the book.

Journal Entry 5 by wingbooklady331wing at Exchange/Trade, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (8/10/2010 UTC) at Exchange/Trade, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


Enjoy! to dabercro for Happy Day RABCK and RABCK release challenges 2010. This is a book from dabercro's wish list. Enjoy.

Journal Entry 6 by dabercro at Clinton, Utah USA on Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Received in the mail today. Thanks for the RABCK!!! A wishlist book and after reading the JE's I don't think I will be disappointed.

Journal Entry 7 by dabercro at Clinton, Utah USA on Saturday, October 16, 2010
The author's writing really made this book come alive. I can't imagine living as a piece of property with no control over your life. The book centers around the bond between Lily and Snow Flower and their shared experiences over the years.

Journal Entry 8 by dabercro at Clinton, Utah USA on Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I decided to make a bookring with this book. The rules are pretty basic.

1. Journal when you receive the book.
2. Journal your thoughts after you read the book.
3. Pm the next person on the list for their address then journal when you mail the book.
Media mail is fine.Please try to move the book on within a month. If you will be keeping it longer (life happens), please journal or pm me so that I know where the book is. Please be considerate of the people on the list after you who are still waiting to read this book.
4. Enjoy the book!

Participant mailing order:

1. carelaisa - Canada
2. Aberpeter - WA

I told Aberpeter that she may keep the book to do as she wishes with it.

Journal Entry 9 by dabercro at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Released 10 yrs ago (1/5/2011 UTC) at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


Sending to carelaisa in Quebec, Canada.

Journal Entry 10 by wingcarelaisawing at Québec, Québec Canada on Saturday, January 15, 2011
The book is here! I received it on wednesday but didn't journaled it until today... I had other things that kept me busy and away from the computer.

I will read it over the next few days and then send it to the next participant.

thanks dabercro for sending the book my way and sharing it with us :)

Journal Entry 11 by wingcarelaisawing at Québec, Québec Canada on Sunday, January 23, 2011
Finished reading it this week...

It’s a nice story, well narrated, that reminds me strongly of “The Scent of Sake” by Joyce Lebra [though here, it’s set in Japan] in the strength of the main characters’s temper. All along the story, we feel that friendship and respect of the principles are important but also not to forget who you are and sacrifice it. I really liked that book!

Will now pm the next bcer for this ring so I can send it later this week.

Journal Entry 12 by wingcarelaisawing at Québec, Québec Canada on Friday, January 28, 2011
this book is now on its way, as of today, to Aberpeter :))

Journal Entry 13 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Saturday, February 5, 2011
The book is here! dabercro mentioned to the ring would stop with me (or instead of a ring it's now a ray). I am looking forward to reading this and plan on placing it near the top of Mt. TBR.

Journal Entry 14 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I would love to say this is a beautiful story of friendship, which is true for most of the novel. There comes the one misunderstanding that drives a wedge between Snow Flower and Lily. It is interesting to think of how misunderstandings can shape and/or dramatically change our relationships with those around us. Even though the story is set in China many years ago, the relationship between Snow Flower and Lily remains a timeless classic.

Journal Entry 15 by Aberpeter at Kirkland, Washington USA on Friday, September 9, 2011

Released 10 yrs ago (9/9/2011 UTC) at Kirkland, Washington USA


adding to the "Read and Journaled" bookbox

Journal Entry 16 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Thursday, September 29, 2011
I read this book back in 2007, and wrote the following:
OK, I just LOVED this book. It was completely engrossing. From the moment Lily and Snow Flower meet, they have such a deep connection with each other that I envy them. In this China women didn't find soulmates in husbands, but in friends. Yet in making a connection with her laotong Lily cut off her chances for friendships with other women, and it left her lonely and self-righteous because after the death of her mother-in-law, there was no-one left to correct her and point out her flaws.
The two girls communicate using the secret language of women, nu shu, which I have never heard of before. It's amazing to think that for 1000 years women were able to speak to each other with designs in embroidery or in notes and letters that men couldn't - or chose not to understand - read.

See does a wonderful job of re-creating old China and the traditions and rules that bound its people into their roles. As she grows older and her fortune improves, Lily becomes Lady Lu, the very model of a virtuous Chinese woman. As she rises up and gains the respect of her county, Snow Flower sinks deeper and deeper into the depression of humanity. Snow Flower is poor, her children die young, her husband beats her...and yet in many ways she is more alive than Lily. She feels emotions far more deeply and appreciates what her friendship with her laotong, and continues to love Lily even after being cast aside for "infidelity" in their relationship.

Lily regrets the rift, self-created, between Snow Flower and herself, and lives to be a very old woman full of sorrow. How she wishes she had taken off her mask of propriety and just enjoyed her time with Snow Flower! But she writes her story in her secret language so that when she dies Snow Flower can read it, and understand her, before they meet again in the afterworld.


This book enjoyed a brief stay in San Jose, California before continuing its travels in the Read and Journaled bookbox!

Journal Entry 17 by copchic905 at St. Louis, Missouri USA on Friday, October 14, 2011
Pulled from the Read and Journaled bookbox!

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